Sudan opposition figure released from prison

[JURIST] A leading Sudan opposition figure jailed in 2004 for an alleged coup attempt was released from prison on Sunday. Yousef Mohammed Saleh Lebis is a member of Sudan's Popular Congress Party (PCP), which is led by Hassan al-Turabi [BBC profile]. Lebis' release is a result of the promise made by President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile] in April that he would release all political detainees [JURIST report] and renew a commitment to maintain an open dialogue. Kamal Omar, political bureau head of the PCP, stated that the government's release of Lebis is positive, but that it does not change the position [AFP report] of his party, which still seeks a peaceful end to the current Sudanese government.

Tension has remained extremely high following South Sudan's separation [JURIST report] from Sudan in July 2011, as well as from Sudan's continued history of human rights abuses. In February the UN urged Sudan security forces to strengthen human rights efforts [JURIST report] and expressed concern regarding the arrest and detention of political opposition figures. In January Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] also urged Sudan [JURIST report] to end its crackdown against political and cultural groups. Al-Bashir has also remained a controversial figure in international politics for his actions during the Darfur conflict [BBC backgrounder]. In June 2011 then-ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said that al-Bashir has continued to commit crimes against humanity [JURIST report] in Darfur. The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] charged al-Bashir [JURIST report] with three counts of genocide in July 2010, but he has yet to be arrested.

 

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